Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Democrats Skinny Love for Impeachment Threatens to Burn Down the House

Come on skinny love just last the year
Pour a little salt we were never here
My, my, my, my, my, my, my, my
Staring at the sink of blood and crushed veneer

       "Skinny Love" by Justin Vernon

Peggy Noonan has written a masterpiece in her article, "The Left’s Rage and Trump’s Peril," in which she correctly observes that the Democratic base is even worse-tempered than the president.  For the next several weeks, the public will likely be continually reminded that House Democrats sat angrily during the State of the Union, and refused to stand for, among other things, lower minority unemployment rates, victims of gang violence, and even a child putting flags on the graves of Veterans.  All but die-hard partisans will be forced to ask if there really is much difference between the character flaws, real and imagined, of Donald Trump, and the character flaws, real and imagined, of the Democrats?   

Ms Noonan warns that impeachment, though, is still a possibility if the Mueller investigation finds Trump wrong-doing. 

Perhaps.  But, it is also possible that the Democratic Party will not survive a skinny impeachment of the President.  Despite the hysteria of some in the Party chanting the impeachment mantra, the Party's skinny love affair is becoming harder to nurture, and threatens to burn down the love shack.

At this point in time, absolutely everyone who has any knowledge, including the Senate Democrats (e.g. Feinstein) and the people most likely to actually know, e.g., former acting CIA chief Michael Morell, and the always willing to embrace plausible fiction, James Clapper, are on record as saying there is no evidence of Russian collusion. 

Even if there was evidence, there is no "crime"  in "colluding" with a foreign agent or government so long as the campaign does not knowingly solicit or accept foreign donations or commit some other crime, like lying to federal agents.  Campaign finance violations, even if they exist,  are unlikely to merit a charge against Trump.  Campaign finance officers exist for a reason; they create plausible deniability.  Candidates rarely know who all their contributors.  More, when was the last prosecution of a Presidential candidate for a campaign finance crime?  Does the Democratic Party really want to remind the public that is trying hard to forget their distaste for Hillary Clinton, that the last Presidential candidate charged, the Democratic Party darling, John Edwards, was convicted for using campaign funds to support his paramour, with whom he bore a child while having an affair, while his wife was dying of cancer? 

There is also the nasty fact that the the Mueller investigation turned against the Democrats.  That  fact  doesn't absolve Trump, but it is as likely that Podesta and company will be ensnared by the Mueller investigation for finance violations/money laundering.  There is a stinging  irony in the fact that if the whole collusion charge had not begun with the fabricated Steele dossier, Podesta and company would never have been investigated. 

Because the  "collusion" charge is looking thin,  Clapper, embracing a plausible fiction, and the rest of the Democrats in the know, are now beating the drum of obstruction of justice for firing FBI Director James Comey [ pregnant pause], a man almost every single major Clinton supporter is on record stating should be fired.  Aside from the Comey firing, it appears that the obstruction effort consists of a  twitter campaign attacking the the Justice Department, and such additional damning evidence as Trump asking Justice employees if  they are on his team, and whether he could count on their loyalty. 

The skinny hope of impeachment is now threatening the FISA program, as we await competing House memorandum suggesting that either the FISA program was or wasn't abused by Justice in spying on U.S. citizens, members of the Trump campaign or transition team, for political purpose.  The Democrats love for the collusion charge, first coming from the Steel dossier, and then spread by the Obama Administration as its final gasp of relevance before returning to private lives (see  "18 questions for Obama on Trump-Russia collusion,") is threatening a program every justice and intelligence expert tells us is necessary to combat terrorism. 

Is it possible that the love affair is threatening to literally burn down the house of government, creating a constitutional crisis in which a sitting President might be impeached for obstruction of justice for engaging in the supervisory management of members of the Executive Branch, in order to obstruct an investigation into a baseless charge, while simultaneously exposing Americans to greater risk of terrorism by eroding confidence in the government's ability to wage war?  This is a fair characterization of events.

The Clinton transition team removing the "Ws," from the White House keyboards, almost appears juvenile compared to the Obama transition team removing constitutional protections in order to  spread evidence of a contrived and manufactured impeachable offence.  If true, the love affair threatens the legacy of Democrat national governance.  One can imagine a public refusing to consider even an eminently qualified national candidate for fear of the corrupt Party once again "upping the ante" on outgoing "mischief."  

The Democratic Party will not survive Trump impeachment.  The Mueller investigation is prima facia evidence that justice was not obstructed, and while the attempt is a crime, technically, firing a Director is not destruction of evidence or bribing a witness.  Mueller is unlikely, to create a constitutional crisis on such thin grounds. More, the public is unlikely to accept the result. 

Democratic Senators should take the more hysterical members of the House to the woodshed with the political realities of an impeachment charge on specious grounds given that a sitting Democratic President was not impeached despite having committed perjury. The political winds of rage will consume Democrats in all but the precious few "locked" states (Cali and New York), if the Party knowingly removes Trump from office for less than clear and palpable violations of the law.  The  party is threatened with being seen as the party that weaponizes governmental institutions in the pursuit  of political power, willing to "fix"national elections to extract vengeance against opponents and the people for opposing them.  

Yes, Trump won the election.  But it was widespread ire with Clinton that was the real flame that burned down the Clinton bid to be President.  If the the Democrats are wise, they will snuff that ember of disgust with Clinton, and let it die, rather than giving it new air by pursuing a skinny impeachment effort.

As the Talking Heads warned in their 80's new wave hit:

      Watch out you might get what you're after

      Boom babies strange but not a stranger

      I'm an ordinary guy
      Burning down the house
           "Burning Down the House," by David Byrne Chris Frantz Jerry Harrison Tina
                   Wymouth, Talking Heads

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Trump Administration's Disruptive Reform of Political Communication

While traditional political labels- liberal, conservative, moderate- simply won’t adhere to the Trump Administration, it is clear that Trump is an effective disruptive reformer. The Trump Administration increasingly employs actions and policies designed to disrupt the establishment and render useless the traditional tools used to keep and maintain the establishment.

What is Disruptive Reform?

Disruptive Reform is change that removes the competitive advantage of incumbent or establishment institutions and tools, thereby permitting competing insurgents or reform an opportunity to survive. “Disruptive” does not imply violence or even unlawful or illicit behavior. Disruptive means that reform is accomplished by replacing the traditional tools and institutions that normally support and sustain the establishment with those that challenge, change, and ultimately replace or reform the establishment.

The concept is perhaps Progressive, but the tools developed by Progressives are increasingly being appropriated by others. Others have noticed that it seems to be the Right, and not the Left, that is making effective use of disruptive reform. See, e.g, “Innovation Nation: The Indian Right’s Real Idea Is Disruptive Innovation.

The effectiveness of disruptive reform is increasingly demonstrated in a rapidly changing technological world, that is less cohesive and more personal. Disruptive reform has revolutionized the computer, telecommunications, and automotive industries. Disruptive reform is the driving force behind recent rapid changes in the use of social media and to secondary education. Disruptive reform has repeatedly been suggested as necessary to reform the health care industry. See, for example, "The Innovator's Prescription: A Disruptive Solution for Health Care." It is natural for someone like Donald Trump, whose experience is in the business sector, to reject the traditional tools of politicians in favor of effective tools from the business sector.
There are many examples of the Trump Administration engaging in disruptive reform. In my previous article, 'The real significance of the ‘Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,’ for example, I discussed how Trump Administration immigration policy implementation intends to bypass traditional media information sources, and generate effective alternate narratives thereby threatening establishment immigration policy values. But it is political communication that is the most potent example of Trump Administration disruptive reform.

Traditional establishment politics values finely tuned, disciplined, discreet messages designed to find the greatest support and least opposition possible (whether or not true or accurate, by the way). Traditional political communication reinforces the establishment, and discourages reform by relying upon scripted talking points suggesting broad and enduring consensus, whether or not these exist, and threatening catastrophic consequences with alternatives, whether or not these consequences are true or likely. Traditional political communication values the use of surrogates to initiate communication, and values highly repetitive recitation of messages across a variety of media to reinforce the message thereby suggesting consensus. Traditional political communication values trial balloons and nuance that allows politicians and institutions to distance themselves from positions or ideas that later prove controversial or unpopular. Discourse leading to reform is rendered difficult, if not  impossible, as those upholding the traditional establishment reject real debate or discussion as threatening established consensus and enduring underlying values.

Disruptive reform rejects and abandons these restraints on discourse as tools of the establishment, and so only utilizes the tool of traditional political communication to engage opponents and achieve discreet objectives. The Trump Administration’s reliance upon “direct to citizenry” communication while decried by the establishment as “dangerous,” “unprofessional,” and “inexperienced,” continues to reinforce Trump’s affiliation with those “outside” the establishment. Direct to citizenry content bypassses the establishment filters that would render the message less volatile, and less effective at challenging establishment ideas and institutions. Whatever the content, by communicating in an anti-establishment manner, any suggestion that Trump is co-opted by the establishment is likely to ring false.

Disruptive communication, unlike traditional political communication, can encourage and value vehement opposition, particularly where the opposition reveals opponents, bias, and weakness, or expends energy or resources that otherwise might be marshaled to actually frustrate reform. Opposition can invite consideration, and generate publicity.  Opposition communication and discourse under a campaign of disruptive reform reveals in time that the establishment threats of adverse consequences are untrue or unlikely, thereby blunting the effectiveness of reform opponents. It undermines trust and confidence in establishment values, institutions, and structures, replacing traditional communication mechanisms that support the establishment with those that threaten the establishment. In this way, reform communication replaces the establishment emphasis and reliance upon the status quo.

The Trump Administration’s mistrust of traditional media outlets is not new; its unrelenting full-throated attack, coupled with non-traditional means of communicating narratives is new. The ability of the establishment to reject by monolithic opposition and by repetition through various media outlets is muted as consumers of information find effective, inexpensive, and convenient alternatives.

Moreover, once confronted, the establishment predictably threatens extreme, outrageous, and unthinkable consequence. The establishment attack becomes unbelievable and increasingly lacking credibility as people realize that reform is not dangerous - Trump is not Hitler, is not rounding up homosexuals, and is working to parse the difficult immigration issues such as the protection of families, for example. As the establishment becomes more desperate, its agents and operatives become “useful idiots,” unwittingly revealing the true face of the establishment, and the need for reform.The establishment opposing the Trump Administration is increasingly revealed as less concerned with the lives of real people, and more with keeping and maintaining power and influence. It will be interesting to see whether establishment Republicans accept or reject these changes, and whether, if they side with the establishment against the Trump Administration, there will be a political cost that, in a traditional binary Republican-Democrat establishment, enhances or diminishes the Trump Administration’s authority.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Real Significance of the Temporary Immigration Ban?

Is the Trump administration inviting a constitutional crisis in the United States District Court (USDC)? Despite the fact that any half-conscious sot could, in a few Google clicks, find lists of refugees or immigrants from the seven subject countries caught committing or attempting to commit acts of terror, which would justify the temporary ban, when asked by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the administration demurred. Citing how quickly the case had developed, the Department of Justice (DOJ) merely raised and referred to the conclusions of the previous administration regarding the threat of immigration from the specific targeted nations.

It almost appeared as if the DOJ did not want to answer the question. Why wouldn't the administration want to justify the ban? Moreover, the DOJ did not offer, at least from what this author read online, to supplement the record with actual instances of immigrants from the specified countries representing a threat.

There is little question the court's injunction faces some important legal issues:
  1. A nationwide injunction issuing from a single USDC is, although with some precedent, difficult to support;
  2. Immigration is, according to Congress, a peculiarly executive function, and Congress has granted great deference to the Executive Branch;
  3. Without a sitting ninth Justice, the U.S. Supreme Court may deadlock on any issue, keeping the lower court ruling in place. Whether the result is good, one might think, depends on whether you support or don't support the ban. But, consider the possibility that there is a different objective than just a temporary ban on certain immigration.

Most people forget that the USDC system is NOT a constitutional court system. It is a statutory system. Congress established the system, and grants to the courts subject matter jurisdiction, which Congress can remove. Are the people in the Trump administration prescient enough to invite a crisis in order to justify weakening a court system that it finds "obstructive" on several fronts? My article, "The real significance of the ‘Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States’ suggested that a prior Trump administration order on immigration "represents governance at a very high level, a level many thought Trump incapable of reaching."  Outlining the sophistication of the order, and its objective to create a narrative, I concluded that the order "establishes the Trump administration as self-aware, proactive, and formidable."

The media, and apparently some in the Trump administration, would suggest that the executive order creating the temporary ban was, in contrast, not governance at its best, but a comedy of errors in its conception, drafting, and implementation.  Is it possible, though, that the chaos, the resulting challenge, and the resulting crisis is welcome and intended? It would explain, for example, initially leaked stories suggesting that the EO was not vetted nor communicated to key secretaries, which later turned out to be false.  These stories, and confusion whether the ban applied to those already-issued green cards or those otherwise previously admitted to the U.S., only added to the hysteria following the rollout of the order.

What if the real objective is support for restricting the power of the USDC to judicially review certain actions of the executive branch, or certain congressional legislation? An administration with the ability to achieve a defined objective is something the media is not even considering as it continues to be manipulated into believing, for example, that Steve Bannon runs the White House.  Is it possible, that there is value to the Trump administration in its political adversaries seeing it as feckless, inexperienced, and helpless?  Is it possible that, as with its previous immigration executive orders, the Trump administration is trying to develop and change the narrative, and the electorate.  How many voters who otherwise would cringe at any other congressional effort to limit the subject matter jurisdiction of the USDCs, might support an effort to check "activist federal courts," particularly in a case popular with many Americans, In which the court system was incapable of operating properly due to circumstance?  

The first month of the Trump Presidency may go down in history as the first effective use by a president of political "rope-a-dope."

Originally published in American Thinker.  The original article can be viewed here:

Monday, June 26, 2017

The real significance of the "Executive Order on Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States"

The executive order titled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States," establishes the Trump administration as truly formidable.  If you haven't heard or read about it, you soon will.  The order requires, among other things, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by undocumented aliens.

There is an old adage: you should never pick a fight with anyone who buys his ink by the barrel.  The corollary is that the U.S. government "speaks" with an authority that threatens even the independent media and their billions of barrels of ink.  It is for this reason that scholars developed the doctrine of "government speech," which acknowledges the risks posed by a government engaged in propaganda.  That is why, for example, U.S. propaganda efforts like Voice of America are prohibited by law (the Smith-Mundt Act) from broadcasting in the U.S.  Simply, when the government "speaks," it does so in a loud, authoritative, and potentially exclusive voice.

The Trump administration believes that many in the media actively conceal news about crimes committed by undocumented aliens, or conceal the status of the perpetrators.  Now, in order to deluge what they contend is an ignorant public with evidence of an existential threat, the government will weekly generate and publish information and statistics supporting the administration's immigration narrative.  Some in the media will refuse to publish the information, but there is little doubt that the information will reach the public.  Of course, the megaphone of the U.S. government means that the information will likely have a profound impact.

For those who believe that any status should be irrelevant in decision-making due to the possibility of latent prejudice, or who believe that reference to status only feeds prejudice and discrimination, the impact will be further evidence that the U.S. cannot, and this administration will not, seek a more tolerant and less discriminatory culture.  Regardless, some of these may, if the statistics are compelling, be swayed to support government action to meet the threat.

For others, the information will confirm their belief in the threat.  There will be many, no doubt, who find the information illuminating and wonder why the threat was not sooner or more carefully identified.  Of course, the Trump administration is banking on there being many who are illuminated or swayed to support government action.

Regardless, the mere act of directing the government to develop the facts upon which to build a powerful narrative establishes the Trump administration as self-aware, proactive, and formidable.  The prescience and power of this strategy rival similar acts by former president Obama and the very prolific Senator Warren, who were directly or indirectly responsible for publishing countless reports documenting the existence and dangers of income inequality and of a rogue Wall Street.  These reports informed and motivated Progressives, anarchists, and anti-corruption conservatives alike, and supported movements like Occupy Wall Street and the Sanders insurgency.

Most importantly, the effort signals clearly that the administration is not feckless, inexperienced, or helpless.  It means the administration is intent and willing to change the narrative, and therefore the electorate.  It means that the administration sees a long-term objective, and is not satisfied with simply taking immediate action, however confident Trump is in the action, over compelling and supporting lasting change.

The Order represents governance at a very high level, a level many thought Trump incapable of reaching.  It will, of course, please his supporters.  It will only further disturb his opponents, though, including those in the Republican Party.  After scratching their heads at just how badly they have repeatedly underestimated Trump, the order will send a shudder through the collective being of Trump opponents.

Now there is, and can be, no corner of consolation that Trump's inexperience will render him ineffective.  There can be no comfort that his political naïveté renders him toothless.  The order means that the Trump administration is and can be dangerous.  If Trump is the reform candidate he promised, it is now clear that his administration is capable of changing the way politics and governance are conducted, and perhaps changing these for a very long time.

Originally published in American Thinker:

Monday, February 27, 2017

18 questions for Obama on Trump-Russia collusion

Why won't reporters actually ask relevant questions?

Consider this: The New York Times reports that the Obama administration "scrambled" to leave a "trail of breadcrumbs" of "evidence" about Trump-Russia connection.  According to the now widely distributed report, in the closing days of the Obama administration, immediately before the inauguration, suspecting, but not yet having any hard "evidence" of, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, the Obama administration spread classified information of admittedly irrelevant contacts and communication as widely as possible across the government and shared a dossier marked "secret" with Congress.  The administration shared not "evidence" of collusion, but evidence of contacts and communications.

I have several questions I wish someone would ask:
  1. Did these efforts include changing privacy and due process rules governing FISA-permitted investigations, unwittingly intercepting communications involving U.S. citizens (which requires scrupulous protection of the identity of U.S. citizens inadvertently intercepted without a warrant or independent probable cause)?
  2. Did this effort lead to intentional or unintentional dissemination to persons without clearance?
  3. Was consideration given to the fact that spreading information so broadly might encourage leaking of the information, since compartmentalization and limitation practices designed to prevent leaking were abrogated?
  4. Was consideration given to the possibility that leaking dubious information without conclusive proof might make it impossible to hold leakers and those making hasty generalizations from incomplete information responsible?
  5. Did the effort create a chatter about collusion that, although devoid of evidence, suggested to actors that someone somewhere must have evidence supporting the conclusion, given the wide dissemination of inconclusive data, thereby creating a fraudulent and false narrative?
  6. Is it possible that the broad dissemination of such information was intentionally designed to encourage leaks, protect leakers from discovery, or create a false narrative?
  7. Who in the Obama administration participated in this exercise, who authorized it, and who was briefed regarding the effort?
  8. Were there detractors from the effort, and if so, who?
  9. How was the effort communicated to subordinates, and did the communication come with the rationale for the effort, the rationale of which was widely reported as coming from "three former American officials who requested anonymity in discussing classified intelligence"?
  10. Were the three former officials in the White House prior to the transition?
  11. Were the three former officials in the government at the time the information was disseminated?
  12. Were the three former officials authorized at any time to receive classified information?
  13. Who in Congress was given the file marked "secret"?
  14. Why was the file marked "secret"?
  15. Was the material contained in the file raw or redacted, and was it marked "classified"?
  16. Was the higher designation "secret" – suggesting that the dissemination of the information was potentially "seriously damaging," to national security – selected to elevate the gravity attached to ordinary or routine contacts and communication, thereby suggesting collusion for which there is apparently still no proof?
  17. Why was any effort necessary at all, since it would take only one person in authority to upload all of the intelligence to Intellipedia, a secret wiki used by American analysts to share information, thereby forever preserving it?
  18. Why haven't any of these relevant questions been asked of senior Obama administration officials?
Is it possible that just one question might reveal the implausibility of the motivation behind the entire effort?

This article originally appeared in American Thinker.  You can view the original article here: 

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Criticism of the Brief for LEV (Lesser Evil Voting)

[Preface: A friend, for whom I have great respect, requested on Facebook my commentary regarding an article, "An Eight Point Brief For LEV (Lesser Evil Voting), hereinafter referred to as the "Brief." It is, despite my criticism, an interesting article, and I commend the article to my readers and friends, notwithstanding that I do not agree with the author's conclusions. The following is my commentary and opinion].

I read with interest the Brief for LEV (Lesser Evil Voting), penned by John Halle and Noam Chomsky which begins with the following preamble: 
Among the elements of the weak form of democracy enshrined in the constitution, presidential elections continue to pose a dilemma for the left in that any form of participation or non participation appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to develop a serious opposition to the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians. 
I question the assumptions on which the article is based.  I wonder, for example, why "participation or non-participation [in presidential elections] appears to impose a significant cost on our capacity to develop serious opposition to the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians?"  Wouldn't opposition to the corporate agenda be better organized and implemented prior to an election?  What "cost," particularly of non-participation? I wonder more why this is a "dilemma" for the left?  I believe the assumptions and conclusions of the authors are flawed.

The Establishment as Serving the Corporate Elite by Restricting Choice

As anyone from the left should know, there is no such thing as non-participation in a political system.  "Not voting" is participation, just as is voting.  There is no dilemma here.  What frustrates both the intellectual Right and intellectual Left is that there are, usually, no intellectual or anti-establishment choices. Whether or not one casts a vote, one has no choice that is either "enlightened," or "anti-establishment," and therefore, no choice offers a real opportunity for reform. Political promises of "change," are common, but in the end nothing fundamentally changes.

Our two most recent Presidents offer excellent examples of administrations run by the establishment for the benefit of a corporate agenda.  Only this week, for example, I watched Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough extol the ability of George Bush to surround himself with amazing, intellectual talent with deep foreign policy experience (all by way of criticizing Trump for not similarly surrounding himself with the "best and the brightest").  But these "experts," could not prevent some of the greatest foreign policy blunders of modern time. These blunders, and more importantly, the foreign policy as a whole, served the corporate establishment directly and indirectly.

While few today dare credit Bush with having the same ability regarding economic policy expertise, the reality is that, there, too, he was surrounded by the "best and brightest," who, nonetheless, offered no solution to the crash of 2008.  The crash of 2008, too, served the interests of the establishment, creating overnight the greatest disparity between the "have and have-nots" in modern times.  If you bristle at the suggestion that the Bush Administration included the "best and the brightest," I suggest watching the last fifteen minutes of Charles Ferguson's excellent documentary "Inside Job," which describes how, to a man and woman, the new Obama Administration kept and retained the same economic brain trust that seemingly orchestrated the crises leading to the 2008 meltdown.  Eight years later, the same economic brain trust continues to inform and direct the administration.

President Obama promised to be the most progressive, and the most transparent President in American history.  I, for one, do not question his stated intention.  Whatever one thinks about the promise of the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), in what Progressive world would it rely upon, and reward the largest health care providers and create entry barriers to competition from the smaller competing providers?  In what transparent world would it be foisted upon the electorate by intentional lies?  Regardless, the ACA is clearly a boon for the establishment. As a result of ACA, despite its admitted successes in reducing the numbers of uninsured, we are witnessing perhaps the greatest centralization of an economic system (health care) since the break-up of AT&T (telecommunications). Just this week, HHS Secretary Burwell admitted that despite success in reducing the numbers of uninsured, access, quality, and the price of health care remain challenges unresolved by the ACA.  Has it achieved some goals?  Unquestionably, but there is little question that, in the balance, the legislation did much more to serve the corporate establishment and the politicians that serve it.

Sadly, the ACA is not a unique example of the Obama Administration economic policy serving the corporate establishment.  Dodd-Frank was supposed to ensure that no financial institution became too big to fail, but the result has been a similar consolidation of economic power in both investment banking and consumer credit, and greater entry barriers for smaller competitors. Regulation sometimes serve the interests of the establishment by making competition more difficult or impossible.  By further entrenching those representing the status quo, and preventing newcomers from deposing them, it is apparent that Dodd-Frank, too, serves the interests of the corporate elite and the political establishment.

Despite the promise of a new era of economic and financial protection, the present administration has wholly failed to resolve the toxicity of derivatives, except to finally invoke an incomprehensible definition of what they are, and make them FDIC insured.  If you did not know that derivatives are FDIC insured (some always were), don't feel badly.  I bet that few in Congress know!  Resolution of the derivative matter does not serve the corporate agenda, so we "kick it down the road," to be resolved  at some random future date when resolution is compelled by circumstances, or orchestrated by design, hopefully while maintaining some political and economic order.

President Obama's promise in foreign policy is, and has been, undermined at each turn by the same corporate establishment that relies on the existing order, conveniently orchestrated from inside by no less than his Secretaries of State.  Hillary Clinton, particularly, has reached, in my opinion, the height of arrogance, drinking from the public trough while selling political influence and favor for something as mundane as personal wealth and power, carving for herself special rules and regulations. I believe history will show that Obama's greatest foreign policy failure is his inability to recognize this counter-insurgent insider. 

Hillary Clinton is clearly neither Progressive, nor particularly Liberal, unless your definition of either is limited only to support for certain social/civil rights.  Quite frankly, there is little to substantiate either a Liberal or Progressive ideology.  In fact, her deeds bespeak a traditionally Republican corruption as she champions the cause of the establishment Wall Street and corporate elites for personal and political gain.

If you protest that the foregoing statements suggest I watch too much Fox News, know that my understanding of Hilary Clinton comes from the offices of Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has identified the financial corruption both generally and specifically, and the foreign policy failures both generally and specifically.  If Warren becomes Clinton's running mate, she will have swallowed a lot, since her office was involved in pointing out how Clinton lied when she denied supporting repressive Latin American regimes, such as that in Honduras, in their efforts to crush Progressive reformers, resulting in the murder of hundreds of Progressive heroes.  Her personal corruption in supporting Colombian free trade agreements for wealthy contributors to her campaign and the Clinton Foundation is well documented.  Many Progressives believe that it is Clinton's betrayal of Progressive freedom fighters and human rights activists that lead to the leaking of  Clinton's emails.  

Warren has been harshly critical of not only Clinton's financial relationship with Wall Street, but that "she worries about them as her constituency."  She has accused Clinton of changing her position solely because of campaign contributions, writing in her book about Clinton's indispensable support in securing President Bill Clinton's veto of a bankruptcy bill championed by establishment consumer credit companies, only to support the exact same bill as a Senator after receiving several hundreds of thousands in donations from the same industry.  Simply, Warren accuses Clinton of having been "bought," and provides detailed and incontrovertible evidence supporting the charge.  

The positions of Clinton and Warren regarding the corporate establishment are so disparate that within days after Warren first appeared publicly with Clinton as the presumptive nominee in what some touted as an audition for the vice presidency, Warren attacked silicon valley and the tech giants, all Clinton donors.  The brazen and justified attack prompted Vanity Fair, to publish the article, "Elizabeth Warren Just Proved Why She'd Make a Terrible Running Mate."  The article boldly proclaimed that "attacking the same donors that Clinton is courting is a recipe for disaster."  Politico reported that Wall Street donors have threatened to dump Clinton over Warren. The Obama administration has advanced the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians, knowingly or unwittingly.

As an aside, I predicted two years ago that the Democratic Party would ultimately "do the right thing," and mercifully kill the Clinton candidacy, and I predicted that the Party would install Warren as its candidate.  Warren would be a formidable candidate, and could right the Clinton betrayal of the Obama Administration specifically, and of the Progressives generally. Although I was initially encouraged when Joe Biden rebuffed the "Draft Joe," movement after, by the way, consulting Elizabeth Warren, recent events seem to suggest a closing of the circle of establishment Democrats.  Whether this circle includes or excludes Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders remains to be seen. Whether my prediction will become reality also remains to be seen.

I agree with the authors that government has become corrupted and co-opted by corporate and multinational interests. This is not just a problem for the Left, however.  The Left and Right disagree, generally, about the ability of the government to solve problems, whether courts or legislatures should resolve disputes, and whether international, state, or federal action is most appropriate in taking governmental action.  While the Right generally utilizes a hierarchical value system and the Left is more likely to utilize a dialectic that dispenses with first principles (even these generalizations are sometimes untrue, however; an excellent example is the Catholic concept of "social justice," which obviously springs from a hierarchical value system that is traditionally rather rigid, but most would characterize as "Leftist", nonetheless).  Of course, there are differences between those on the Left and those on the Right.

Values Common to Both the Left and the Right

What few will admit, however, is that, at least in the United States, traditionally, both the Left and the Right agree on most core values, goals, and objectives:  free speech; freedom of assembly; freedom from prohibition of religious expression; freedom of the press; freedom from search and seizure; freedom from investigation without probable cause; freedom from self incrimination; freedom from taking property without reasonable compensation; the right to trial by jury; the right to confront and examine witnesses; the right to counsel. These core values elevate, for both the Left and Right, individual rights above the power of the state. 

Both Left and Right agree fundamentally regarding protection of the environment, although they disagree regarding the scope and balance regulation should take.  The Right might be more cooperative with the Left regarding environmental protection, by the way,  if the corporate agenda did not so obviously flaunt environmental protection by moving environmentally threatening manufacturing and production to countries that seem little concerned with the environment, but more on that later.   

Both the Left and the Right embrace the American Dream, which might be described as the ideal that each generation, by sacrifice and hard work, make a better world for the next generation (and so there is no misunderstanding, even the most extreme of both would consider "hard work" as including not just labor and industry, but political, social, and economic reform, and familial sacrifice and support). These common values are corrupted by the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians.  In fact, as the authors will demonstrate, frustration with the corporate agenda and the political establishment entice some to suggest greater state authority, elevating the state above the individual, without acknowledging that such power, once attained, may be wielded by the same political establishment serving the corporate agenda.  Simply, "developing serious opposition" to the establishment is increasingly in the best interest of individuals from both the Left and the Right, and can only occur when the individuals, Left and Right, join forces to defeat their common foe. Serious opposition is not, however, found in granting to the political establishment more power, by for example, compromising individual rights and liberties. 

One could easily make the argument that it was the underlying unity of the electorate (shared values and growing distaste for the establishment) that propelled a young Barak Obama to ascend to the Presidency. His was clearly not an establishment candidacy, and many saw in his rhetoric the opportunity to escape the establishment choices.  Hillary Clinton was the Democratic establishment candidate over which he leap-frogged to the nomination.  Obama then capably dispatched the Republican candidate, an established Senator so entrenched in the status quo that, by the time the establishment Republicans sensed the anti-establishment mood of the electorate, it panicked and offered the electorate a monstrous ticket, selecting a young, attractive, female, undisciplined, reform conservative, as mainsail in an effort to catch the anti-establishment wind. The public, not so easily deceived, rejected the monster, despite the fact that many conservatives undoubtedly voted for what they probably saw as the Lesser of Two Evils.  

Corruption, and not Weak Democracy, Frustrates Reform
The inability to develop serious opposition, in my opinion, is also not structural to the American political system, as the authors suggest.  It certainly does not arise from the "weak form of democracy enshrined in the constitution." Weaker democracies, stronger democracies, and even more or less authoritarian regimes struggle against the establishment, and the corporate interests they serve.

The "assumption" that the weak democracy is the root of the inability to confront the establishment, is my greatest criticism of the Brief; it removes from individuals personal blame for a system that has been co-opted and corrupted, and encourages the very divisions that permit corporate and establishment interests to continue unchallenged. The model posited by the authors embraces the concept that participants, i.e., voters, should vote for a corrupt and compromised candidate protecting the corporate agenda and the political establishment - why? because the candidate identifies as Liberal or Conservative, Republican or Democrat?-  as the measure of what constitutes the lesser of two evils? The model intellectualizes and rationalizes surrender to the establishment, and if adopted, assures that rejection of the establishment will never occur through the political process!

The "Lesser of Two Evils" is explicitly a rejection that there is an evil inherent in supporting the corporate establishment, despite the fact that the authors posit the value as the very reason for the original dilemma. The authors don't offer a resolution, but an "escape clause:" a value statement that is vapid, unsupported, and devoid of any value:
Voting should not be viewed as a form of personal self-expression or moral judgement directed in retaliation towards major party candidates who fail to reflect our values, or of a corrupt system designed to limit choices to those acceptable to corporate elites.
Beyond making the normative statement, there is no rationale for the proclamation, other than to advance the author's argument to its intended conclusion.  It is a "rationalization," where the term is used to denote a seemingly rational statement made merely to avoid or hide an inconvenient or embarrassing underlying truth.  The underlying truth is that the authors advocate surrender to the establishment.   Although the authors don't say so bluntly, their argument is:
Because we inherently cannot attain our objective of a candidate that will oppose the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians, we should surrender attaining the value, meaning that we should vote for a candidate notwithstanding that they support the corporate agenda, based upon support for other policies/values we hold dear, notwithstanding that we know the the candidate will betray these policies/values in order to protect the corporate agenda served by establishment politicians.
If stated that way, the reaction to the author's proposition would probably be on the order of "What? Seriously?"

Reform Requires Rejecting the Fiction of Lesser of Two Evil Voting

Rejection of the establishment will only occur when the participants reject both the lesser and the greater of two evils, and demand in their candidates repudiation of both parties continuing to serve the corporate agenda. Opposition will be meaningful when voters, individually and communally, reject  protecting the political establishment as an option.

The author's rattle off a series of characterizations of Trump's positions as justification for opposing him "regardless." You aren't voting for Clinton, after all, you are casting a vote against Trump. The problem with this part of the argument is that it surrenders to the mendacity of the establishment political system (not the constitutional democracy, but the Republican/Democrat party system).  It is the political establishment, after all, that would have you believe that "the other side" is at your door, ready to take your rights, your life, your property, your safety, etc. The "other side" is racist, destructive, misogynist, backwards, dangerous, etc.  The mendacity of the establishment is that there can be no rational agreement with cretins on the other side, because they are irrational cretins (I purposefully use the term cretin because of its irony.  If you don't appreciate the "paradox" in my use of the term cretin, look up Epimenides of Knossos, a Cretin Greek philosopher that effectively criticized the rational Greek philosophers, and was ultimately recognized by these same philosophers as being "wiser").  The authors make no more enlightened analysis, because no analysis is relevant having already justified surrender to the establishment.

It is this irrational division, and the threats that arise therefrom, that perpetuate the status quo for the establishment  To assure that the "threat" is always existential, establishment politicians play their respective roles, and are increasingly extreme, and appear unwilling to govern by conciliation and compromise. This is no accident, and serves to protect both the establishment and the corporate interests they serve.  Moreover, it is abundantly clear that although politicians espouse extremist positions for political purpose and gain, they do not believe what they say; despite repeated opportunities for one party or the other to institute dramatic change after garnering the public's mandate, they refuse, choosing instead to maintain the status quo.

The current national debate regarding police shootings and gun violence provides a poignant example.  Most people support law enforcement.  Most are horrified when law enforcement officers kill citizens, whether or not legal or justified. Depending upon how you shake up the statistics, there are either more or less minorities killed by police, but the reality is that too many citizens are killed by law enforcement, and even when justified, national debate begs the question, "are we doing enough as a nation to both keep law enforcement officers safe, and keep citizens confronted by law enforcement safe?"  Are there alternatives to  traditional detentions and arrests?     

Why, then, is law enforcement violence against minorities the only topic that gets media and political attention?  If law enforcement is failing to pacify rather than escalate situations, why is that only a legitimate topic for discussion and debate when a minority citizen is killed? If, as some suggest, our citizens are to blame for escalating violence during confrontations, to what do we account for this phenomenon which appears to cross racial lines?  Are people of all races losing respect and deference to law enforcement?  Are people more likely to flee and evade, or resist arrest, and if so why?  Are people more fearful?  Should they be?   

Most people acknowledge that there is a need to address escalation of conflict during what should be routine detentions and arrests, and few support rhetoric that would justify violence.  Yet groups that openly discuss and seem to advocate violence are not only accepted within the establishment, but embraced by establishment politicians.  Few believe that most law enforcement officers are racist. Few believe that the problem of police violence is only a problem of race.   Yet the establishment politicians support and encourage extreme and even violent rhetoric in order to keep the populace divided.   

So, the reality of establishment candidates, Left or Right, is that we can expect that nothing will change, regardless of the rhetoric.  If Trump is also a candidate supporting and protecting the corporate establishment, by the author's own reasoning, he will not make any meaningful change to the status quo, and more importantly, what he says is meaningless, since the only thing we can know, is that he will inherently support the establishment.  His rhetoric is as meaningless as his opponent's.  

The authors would have voters trust one candidate as the lesser evil because, well, the candidate says so.  The authors' model is to perpetuate the establishment by seizing upon the very meaningless rhetoric that perpetuates the establishment. It should be obvious that the Brief's real intent is to simply rationalize support of the establishment, a rationalization only necessary because the mood of the electorate is palpably anti-establishment, and their "preferred" candidate is unlikely to convince large numbers that she threatens the establishment.   

Finally, if taken seriously, the Brief would justify dismantling a constitutional system  that has, at least until recently, frustrated corporate and establishment authority from achieving ultimately and permanently its goal of attaining unchecked political power directed by unbridled economic power. 

Yes.  I mean the previous sentence.  I accuse the political establishment of working for unrestrained political power directed by unrestrained and unregulated economic power.  

Before you scoff and label me a "conspiracy nut," understand that nothing is further from the truth.  I do not believe that the corporate establishment "conspires" to "world domination," but, I do believe that multinational corporations and the establishment politicians behave in their mutual best interest, and influence politics accordingly. This influence contravenes accepted values of both the Left and the Right. I will give one example in the form of modern globalism. 

The example of Globalism as the Establishment Acting Contrary to Common Values

It is a common and popular tenet of modern foreign policy that economic interdependence makes for a less volatile world, and potentially solves the problem of war. After all, a nation is less likely to go to war when war means various adverse economic repercussions.  This tenet underlies modern free trade theory.  This tenet informs and instructs modern foreign policy.  It is accepted, uncritically, by almost everyone in the foreign policy establishment that could be considered among the "best and the brightest." The theory is rational.  It's goal is, at least superficially, noble and admirable.  It is seductive. But it is palpably wrong, and I would suggest, ultimately, evil.  The theory serves the corporate agenda, and the political establishment (explanation why follows).

Concepts such as these, whether developed innocently and independently, or not-so-innocently and by design, are funded and encouraged by the establishment,  then nurtured financially in private think tanks, quasi-governmental institutions, and the halls of academia, with both private and public funds until there is a broad "consensus" among the "best and brightest."  This does not mean, however, that these concepts, ideas, or theories are necessarily "wrong." And, admittedly, they are always rational.

Jimmy Carter bucked this philosophy arguing that economic free trade should, notwithstanding its value, be secondary to moral behavior.  According to Carter, free trade, and free access to markets, should not be extended to countries and regimes that violate basic human rights, engage in terrorism, subjugate women or children, or the like.  One should not hypocritically sacrifice important values simply for economic gain.  Well, we all know where that went in the annals of foreign policy initiatives. If the establishment could have removed Carter from office after his first year, it would have.

I personally believe that Jimmy Carter was and is right, and had American foreign policy been conducted to restrict economic trade with immoral and repressive regimes, with, by the way, its natural economic impact, the world we live in right now would be fundamentally different. Reagan, incidentally, and shockingly, at least to some, employed a version of the "Carter doctrine," to serve the cause of the break-up of the Soviet Union, employing economic pressure and monetary policy to accomplish a foreign policy objective despite the fact that establishment critics assured us that no such result could ever be attained (though neither President Carter nor Reagan receives the "credit" each deserves). Regardless of success or failure, I think "we," in the U.S., and in the West, would see ourselves much differently had we engaged in rational free trade with consequences for the most repressive. I also think how we see ourselves means a lot, by the way. [To the true historians, Carter will ironically always be remembered by the more accepted "Carter Doctrine" which justified the use of military force in the Middle East to advance and protect American interests; he is not highly regarded for his "naive" view of international trade and monetary policy].

The common retort of the "best and brightest," is that unilateral action is ineffective. Possibly true.  But taking no action is always ineffective.  Moreover, as individual nations are weakened by interdependence, by sacrificing economic power and authority to other nations, non-governmental entities, groups of nations, and ultimately international governmental institutions, the possibility of successful unilateral action is made less likely, and then, ultimately impossible. This well maintains the status quo.  As the likelihood of success seems more remote, nations more easily rationalize their economic interests and political positions toward unethical and immoral ends, all the while serving the corporate establishment.

Repressive regimes are emboldened by free trade and efforts to create interdependence. At a minimum, a regime can be assured that the risk of assembling a coalition of the willing is far less likely than any one or a few nations acting independently against their repression, since the refusal of even one or a few impedes concerted action, and, even if inevitable, will take much more time. Economic interdependence, though, unconditioned by rational and moral principals, intentionally makes even repressive nations and regimes stronger.     

The corollary to the globalist free trade position is the proposition that development leads to egalitarianism, freedom, democracy, and the like.  This theory is palpably ludicrous since these very values were forged and spread, in many cases, without an underlying economic foundation.  The idea that only the wealthy can be free, democratic, altruistic, peaceful, etc., is arrogant, elitist, culturally insensitive, and, more importantly, false.  Conversely, rewarding repressive regimes with unconditioned economic growth and development in the hopes that they will become reformed responsible international partners has failed more often than it has succeeded.  We have succeeded in creating wealthy, more powerful repressive regimes, more capable of keeping and spreading control and influence. The corporate interests make them even wealthier, and more powerful, by moving capital from more expensive less repressive nations. Moreover, as capital is invested in repressive regimes, the establishment has more to lose from reform.  Imagine a well developed, extremely wealthy, militarized, modern, repressive nation into which more capital flows every day- is that nation easier or harder to reform?     

Multinational corporations no longer need to work for the restriction of worker's rights, women's rights, minority rights, environmental protection, child labor, or taxation in the developed  or Western world; they are satisfied with the privilege to take their capital to wherever these don't exist.  These same corporations can appear benign as they freely support establishment politicians that claim to support worker's rights, women's rights, minority rights, environmental protection, child labor, or taxation, while keeping and maintaining a status quo that allows capital to move where these economic impediments don't exist.  And where these don't exist, capital can produce efficiently without governmental regulation. 

These are the reasons more people are rejecting modern "globalism."  The establishment will immediately call globalist critics xenophobes, like Biden did immediately after the Brexit vote.  More and more people are realizing, however, that globalists facilitate the corporate agenda by facilitating the search for cheap labor, new places to build businesses where protection of the environment isn't a concern, where women have no rights so they can be prostituted and indentured, and workers can't bargain and have no power, so the wealthy can better utilize and build their wealth.  The hypocrisy of  protecting "our" women, "our" minorities, and "our" environment" so "they" can be enslaved, adulterated, polluted, and abused, is becoming apparent.  

Moreover, the hypocrisy of "free trade" is becoming apparent as jobs, business, and opportunities are lost to countries with little or no costs associated with protecting the values we hold dear.  "Free trade" is not "free" and the cost is borne by "our" workers and "our" economy and "their" people and "their" environment.  Further, whether directly, by securing and protecting cheap labor and inexpensive or non-existent regulation in the more repressive world, or indirectly by removing economic power from nations otherwise powerful and influential enough to threaten the order of cheap labor and favorable non-regulation (or as my father called it tacit slavery), establishment politicians serve the corporate agenda. 

This order allows capital to work more efficiently than would otherwise be possible.  This is the direct by-product of voting for the lesser of two evils, and supporting the establishment. This is the establishment. Both the Left and the Right establishment would bristle at the suggestion, but what post WWII policy has accomplished is internationally tantamount to granting license to slave holders to move their plantations and slaves to slave states.  Our world is dangerously "less free" than it was when the globalists ascended to power: here and here. [If you want to read a troubling report regarding the relationship between reform and terrorism in the Muslim world, go here.] 

The foregoing begs the question, then, to "what" do we owe inability to confront the establishment?  Trust and confidence in the establishment is common, purchased, encouraged, and incentivized socially, culturally, economically, legally, and politically.  The establishment is strong.  Successful opposition to the establishment is risky; there is and will be a consequence and cost to mere opposition, and greater cost and consequence to reform.

Faith and confidence will erode eventually, because no system can oppress so many for so long.  Someday, those on the Left and the Rght will acknowledge that they have been duped, and have carried the water of the corporate establishment too long.  Someday, the political establishment will become so palpably corrupt that people will grasp at any effort to reform or overturn it.  Someday there will be a revolt, likely peaceful and political, bringing down the political establishment, and threatening the corporate interests it serves.  It won't be easy. And it won't be without consequence.  But it will happen. We can choose to hasten the change by rejecting the establishment, and the divisive narrative that supports the establishment, or we can surrender, as the authors of the Brief suggest.

I know the Brief invites a defense of Trump.  I will not here mount such a defense.  I haven't decided whether Trump is anti-establishment, or a brilliant actor seeking to cause people to believe that he is anti-establishment. I believe that it may become apparent, and his rejection of establishment choices for campaign tactics, campaign finance strategies, running mate, convention speakers, and the like may help identify him.  If Trump is anti-establishment, he will garner my vote. But, if Warren was running against Jeb Bush, she would garner my vote. Regardless, I will vote for a third party, or pass, before casting a vote for the lesser of two establishment evils. The lesser of two evils is a myth, and a fool's errand.  Why should I cast a vote when the choice is between the establishment and the establishment?

 Is Trump The Reform Candidate?

There is little question, that Trump has "caught the wind," and has left the establishment twisting as a result.  At a minimum, if you really are seeking reform or abandonment of the establishment, you have to smile.  Just the fact that he has prevailed over politicians spending millions threatens the establishment.  If he is competitive against Clinton, and continues to finance his campaign without PACs, bundlers, and party financing, he threatens the establishment.  

Trump makes me smile.  Buffoons, blow-hards, clowns, comics, entertainers, artists, performers, jesters, reformers, activists, idealists, dissidents, critics, patriots, and heroes all make me smile.  Time will tell exactly who and what Trump is. He may be all, some, or none of these.


I answer the questions a friend asked of me after reading the foregoing.  I have eliminated the questions, because I think they are obvious from the answers that follow. They all regard Trump as a candidate, by the way.  My discussion is not a "defense" of Trump; my discussion is whether as an anti-establishment candidate, I could support Trump despite his "negatives."   In other words, underlying the specific question is a rather obvious attempt to cause me to select the lesser of two evils.  
  • I don't believe that Trump is a racist. I do not think it racist to acknowledge and attempt to solve problems simply because race is involved, impacted, or concerned. I agree that one of the reasons a border should be regulated is to prevent criminals and crime. It is not racist to acknowledge that there are dangerous elements in any demographic, and burdening every demographic to solve the problem can be rational. Trump's rhetoric is often careless. Regardless, everyone (excepting only those who drink the establishment Kool-aid), must admit that in his personal life, Trump displays none of the racist, misogynist, bigoted attributes for which he is criticized.  I won't dismiss the personal attacks upon Clinton, but accept blindly the personal attacks on Trump. I have to believe that some folks love them, others hate them, and neither group of critics completely or accurately characterizes the candidate.  
  • Yes, I could easily dismiss Trump's rhetoric, even when irresponsible.  It is easily dismissed as being the product of an inexperienced politician.  He does not speak as a politician because he is not a politician (this does not necessarily mean he does not serve the same establishment as politicians).  If he is anti-establishment, I am particularly unconcerned with his repeated political missteps.  I also believe that political correctness, and the demand to so carefully craft ideas and concepts so as to never offend anyone stifles discussion and discourse.  Adults should be expected to accept insult and offense in order to facilitate free discussion and debate.  If someone criticizes Israel, I do not automatically think them anti-semitic; if someone criticizes Isis, I do not automatically think them anti-Muslim.  The establishment politicians and corporate establishment will perpetrate such false generalizations simply because they are divisive.     
  • I don't know whether he is sure of his own positions, and yes they may change as he recognizes political consequence and limitation.  This change is actually comforting. He is capable of change.  More importantly, Trump is not running as the more capable politician, so evaluating him on that basis is ridiculous.  He is running as the more effective executive.  Clinton is clearly the more capable politician. 
  • He may not be able to accomplish what he promises.  Aside from the fact that this is inherent in politics, it is not a serious challenge unless one truly believes he is making promises he knows he cannot keep solely for the purpose of attaining power.  That would suggest he serves the establishment  The same charge could be made against any political opponent, and must be accepted as legitimate as against Clinton, since no one doubts that she is, and therefore serves, the establishment.  The question, for me, is whether he will attempt changes that threaten the corporate agenda served by the political establishment.    
  • The suggestion that Trump is a megalomaniac intent on world domination is no more believable than the same charge leveled at his opponent.  Clinton has a pretty clear track record of corruption, though. She is a brilliant politician.  I see her as no more likely, but clearly more capable, of making a run at world domination.
  • The establishment can't decide, whether Trump is unable to accomplish what he says, or that what he might accomplish is wrong or dangerous.  If he is unable to accomplish what he says, why the hysteria over the possible impact?  If he stated that he was opposed to gay marriage, for example (he isn't, by the way), what importance would it be?  So what if he made a statement during a discussion in which Chris Mathews adeptly led him to consider the logical consequence of attempting to criminalize abortion.  Simply, his position, which is best characterized as politically naive, even if logical, is irrelevant. The courts made the issue nearly irrelevant to Presidential elections (and I am aware of no cache of Scalias or Thomases with which to populate the Supreme Court -remember establishment mendacity- history shows that the greater likelihood is that Trump would support what he thinks is a conservative only to find an O'Connor, Kennedy, or Roberts). I have the same opinion regarding Clinton's out-of-the-mainstream view of abortion rights.  Much of the criticism of both candidates on such issues, even if true, is irrelevant. 
  •  If Trump can't magically deport every undocumented immigrant, even though I don't believe he has ever promised such a magical solution, who cares?  When he is pushed on things like the wall, and enforcement, he simply defers by stating that he'll get it done, or "it's easier than you might think," or some such deflection.  Really, opponents and  the media often imprint on his statements what they want so that they can criticize him, just like the right-leaning media, and opponents do with Clinton.  But, as a seasoned and capable politician Clinton leaves less opportunity by carefully crafting her words and positions, or more capably deflecting (reporters have been asking her for what seems like ten years from whom she received approval or authorization to set up her own email server--go read the responses and good luck finding an answer).  Clinton has not held a full and open press conference in God knows how long, and she rarely speaks off-script. Trump is NOT a politician.   When you throw a novice politician into these events, you get what we have seen.  That is why a seasoned politician doesn't often take the risk of challenging the establishment. 
  • His rhetoric is coarse.  It is sometimes immature.  Coarseness doesn't bother me. His coarseness disproves for me that he is a misogynist, a racist, or a bigot, by the way. His rhetoric is un-apologetically directed at his foes, and those he opposes, and he treats foes and opponents harshly. In other words, he does not treat women differently than men.  If you are a foe or opponent you are treated harshly [of course, you aren't suggesting that any group should be treated more gently than another, right?].  This would only concern me if I was looking for a kinder, gentler President, rather than an effective and capable President. At the end of the day, the question is whether it is possible for a person to "gently" confront the establishment. Sanders is an excellent example of how difficult that path is, because he has the heart, and the ideas, but sometimes lacks the forcefulness to call a cheater a cheater or a liar a liar.  Nice man, but is he really anti-establishment if he is not ready to squarely and forcefully  confront the establishment rhetorically and ideologically?  As for immaturity, I can easily resolve that as 1) his background and training not serving to conform him to the norms we are told we must accept from politicians; or 2) a contrivance designed to increase his appeal to the voters most likely to reject the establishment.  Consider this, knowing what we know, would either Lincoln, FDR or Churchill be acceptable politicians if everything they said was dissected by a media establishment hell-bent on their destruction?
  • He makes me smile.  That is as far as I have gone in my consideration or support at this point. 
This article was originally published 7/6/16, 5:20 AM Eastern Standard Time on the Elder Law and Aging-in-Place Planning Blog.  You can read the original article here:

[The article is altered only in correcting some typographical errors and adding Headers throughout the article].  The original article remains as it was published, much to my horror and dismay. 

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